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Latin Words

by Jacinta
(Sicklerville, New Jersey, U.S)

Dear Latin Teacher,


I'm trying to learn how to speak Latin, as in fluently like a language. I was wondering if the language uses the sort of words: the, in, for, with, etc. If it does, would you please tell me what they are? If not please elaborate.

Thanks, Jacinta


Dear Jacinta,

May you enjoy your years of study as you pursue your goal of speaking Latin fluently.

Of all the words you ask about, only the word THE does not have a Latin equivalent. Latin had neither the definite article (the) nor the indefinite article (a). As you learn to read Latin you will find that articles are not necessary for comprehension.

The other words you mention are complicated to translate out of context. When moving from one language to another we can never rely on a word-for-word parallel. The Latin words in, pro, and cum correspond to the English in, for, and with, repectively. However, there are many ways to express the IDEAS of in, for, and with by other means in Latin.

If I may make a few recommendations: Choose a reading-based textbook for beginners, such as Lingua Latina Per Se Illustrata, and read it slowly and repeatedly cover to cover. Also look for like-minded scholars to help you practice, and find a high quality teacher or tutor. You can't learn a language well without a great teacher.

Hope this helps, and thanks for asking a Latin teacher.

Sincerely,

John

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Latin Homeschool in NJ
by: John

Thanks for the comment, Linda. I'll be glad to help you and Jacinta exchange e-mail if she is interested in doing so.

As for the apparent contradiction in my response, Jacinta didn't ask about the indefinite article a/an. I said of all the words that she asked about, only the has no Latin equivalent. Then I added that Latin has no a either.

Hope this blog continues to be useful to anyone and everyone interested in Latin teaching or learning.

Sincerely,

John

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help in NJ for learning Latin
by: Linda

Dear Jacinta,

I live in central NJ and know some Latin teachers in the area of NJ that you live in. Perhaps John, who runs this blog, could facilitate the exchange of email addresses between us, so I might be of assistance in you desire to learn to speak Latin. I teach homeschoolers in central NJ (Freehold to be exact).

Also, I'm sure by now John has discovered the contradiction in the second and third sentences of his response. There are no ways to express articles (a, an, the) in Latin. But as he said there are prepositions, but expressed and implied, in Latin.

HTH,
Linda Sizemore
Latin teacher for homeschoolers
central NJ

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